The visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to Greece marks a new dimension in the evolving relations between Qatar and Greece. It reflects the shared aspirations for closer co-operation and a solid partnership, as well as the mutual desire of the leaders to expand and diversify collaboration across all fields. Both nations are experiencing economic growth and have significant potential for investment, particularly in energy, trade, transportation, culture, education, tourism, and sports. The visit is also a prime opportunity to discuss recent regional and international developments.
On February 24, His Highness the Amir met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Lusail Palace. They discussed bilateral political and economic relations and exchanged views on prominent regional and international issues, particularly developments in the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ visit to Doha was his second, following his first on August 22, 2022. During his initial visit, he met with His Highness the Amir to discuss joint co-ordination, especially in economy, investment, trade, transportation, energy, culture, education, tourism, and sports, alongside regional and international issues.
Official relations between Qatar and Greece began in 2007, marked by the opening of embassies in Athens and Doha and high-level visits between senior officials. Notably, former president Karolos Papoulias visited Doha in 2006, and His Highness the Father Amir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani visited Athens in 2007. Since then, numerous agreements and memoranda of understanding have been signed in trade, media, air transport, military co-operation, tourism, culture, energy, investments, and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum, first held on September 14, 2006, saw participation from the Qatar Businessmen Association. The forum aimed to promote co-operation between Greece and Arab countries and celebrated the silver jubilee of the Chamber of Commerce.
In 2008, a Qatari-Greek agreement was signed to avoid double taxation. The countries also have an economic and technical co-operation agreement ratified by Qatar on September 15, 2009. Additional agreements and memoranda were signed in May 2010 to amend air transport provisions and facilitate news exchange and tourism co-operation.
Qatar participated in the “EU-Arab World Summit” in Athens in 2016 and 2017 to support partnership and co-operation between the European Union and Arab countries. In May 2018, HE former minister of economy and commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani met with Chairman Panagiotis Mihalos of the Greece-Qatar Business Council to discuss strengthening bilateral business relations.
During a meeting attended by economic officials from both countries, Chairman of Qatar Chamber (QC) Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani noted that the trade exchange between Qatar and Greece, estimated at around $100mn, did not reflect the potential and ambitions of both countries. However, promising Qatari investments in Greece’s energy, tourism, hospitality, and real estate sectors were highlighted.
On May 2, 2019, HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, inaugurated the Qatar-Greece Business Forum, affirming Qatar’s commitment to invest in Greece, both governmentally and privately. QC Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani mentioned that eight Greek companies and around 56 Qatari-Greek companies operate in Qatar in various sectors, including trading, contracting, engineering, and marine services. He also noted the addition of Thessaloniki and Mykonos as Qatar Airways destinations and the activation of the visa exemption agreement for holders of diplomatic and private passports.
Developed relations between Qatar and Greece include a visa exemption agreement for holders of diplomatic, service, or special passports, ratified by Qatar on March 2, 2020. Qatar’s most recent participation in the Arab-Hellenic Economic Forum was on October 27, 2022, with representation by Qatar Chamber’s First Vice-President Mohamed bin Ahmed bin Twar al-Kuwari.
Al-Kuwari stated that trade between Qatar and Greece grew by 120% in 2021, reaching about QR897mn, compared to QR409mn in 2020. The second Gulf-Greek Business Forum discussed investment relations, opportunities, and experiences in the food industries sector.
In January 2017, former Greek minister of defence Panos Kammenos visited Doha, accompanied by Greek defence industry representatives, to discuss defence co-operation. Kammenos also attended the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (Dimdex).
In 2017, former Greek minister of state for foreign affairs George Katrougalos met with HE the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan bin Saad al-Muraikhi in Doha in May and in Athens in November. In May 2017, Deputy Minister of Agricultural Development Vassilis Kokalis visited Doha to explore bilateral co-operation in agriculture and food industries.
Under Prime Minister Mitsotakis, Greece achieved growth rates of 8.3% in 2021 and 5.9% in 2022. Mitsotakis eased the tax burden from the European rescue plan and attracted significant foreign direct investment, reaching a 20-year high in 2021. Greece is working on major infrastructure projects, including a floating unit to convert LNG off the coast of Alexandroupoli, with plans for additional units. The country seeks Qatari investments in energy, digital economy, renewable energy, tourism, and real estate.
Greece, with a population of about 10.75mn (2019 census), is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean basin and includes 227 inhabited islands. Athens, the capital, holds significant cultural heritage, with 18 Unesco World Heritage sites. Greece emerged as a modern state in 1830 after the War of Independence.
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